Are We Sleeping on the Tampa Bay Rays… Again?

BOSTON - APRIL 28: From left, Tampa Bay Rays outfielders Tommy Pham, Guillermo Heredia and Mike Zunio celebrate their 5-2 victory over Boston. The Boston Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays in a regular season MLB baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston on April 28, 2019. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 28: From left, Tampa Bay Rays outfielders Tommy Pham, Guillermo Heredia and Mike Zunio celebrate their 5-2 victory over Boston. The Boston Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays in a regular season MLB baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston on April 28, 2019. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 2
Next
(Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Rays are what pundits have called “Built for October”

More from Call to the Pen

It’s true, and has been for years now.  Teams that win in October have to have two critical facets to their roster in order to win.

  1. A great bullpen
  2. A deep bench

Well, we’ve just discussed how number one is already proving itself out.  Number two is a little less obvious, but if you look at players like Jesus Aguilar, Travis D’arneau, Matt Duffy, and Eric Sogard, and compliment them with the glut of defensively capable outfielders like Tommy Pham and perennial Gold Glove lock Kevin Kiermaier, then you’ve got as powerful a bench as any team in the league, which gives multiple platoon and matchup capabilities in the postseason, where there are more opportunities to display them.  S

o why aren’t they getting any coverage for it?  I mean, isn’t this what guys like Joe Buck and John Smoltz have been saying for years?  That teams win in the postseason with a strong bullpen?  I have no quote to reference that with but I feel like I’ve heard it said… I’m not crazy, right?

They Could actually be BETTER than They Appear…

Taking a look at Fangraphs’ BaseRuns stat, (which uses a context-neutral formula to evaluate a teams win/loss record based on runs scored) the Rays have actually underperformed their metrics by about 4 games.  This is, of course, a hypothetical stat, but let’s just say that this particular metric were to have played out in real life, we’d be looking at the top of the NL East a little differently…

  1. TAMPA BAY RAYS (80-51)
  2. NEW YORK YANKEES (74-57)

Fascinating, isn’t it?  I know what you’re thinking “well, it’s just another made up silly nerd-metric that doesn’t mean anything”….. Well, I mean, you’re not wrong in the sense where it doesn’t apply to what has actually happened and is simply a projection, but if you take a second what it’s really telling us is…..

Next. Indians: Jose Ramirez Placed on 10-Day IL. dark

Don’t sleep on the Tampa Bay Rays… They might sting.